Last week the Revere City Council unanimously approved a motion by Ward 6 Councilor Richard Serino that all governmental board meetings begin no earlier than 5 p.m.
At the request of Ward 3 Councillor Arthur Guinasso, dean of the council, and other councillors, the Legislative Affairs Subcommittee had amended Serino’s original proposal for a starting time no earlier than 6 p.m. for all meetings.
Serino, who is being applauded across the city for a highly productive year as a freshman councilor, was pleased with the unanimous vote, even with the compromise move to 5 p.m.
“In anything in life, compromise is key to moving the needle to accomplish things. I am proud that the City Council’s Legislative Affairs Sub-Committee unanimously voted to approve my ‘meeting times ordinance’ proposal, as amended,” said Serino.
The councilor explained that under his original motion, meetings of all governmental bodies would have begun no earlier than 6 p.m. However, as discussion evolved, Serino said he realized a one-size-fits-all approach would not be appropriate.
“For example, the School Committee does sometimes hold meetings during the day to accommodate teachers; the License Commission holds meetings in the afternoon to accommodate restaurant owners/managers who might otherwise be operating their businesses in the evenings; both the Council on Elder Affairs and the Retirement Board hold meetings in the afternoon due to the nature of their business, which works for the population they are serving,” said Serino. “However, the true intent of the ordinance change is to give the vast majority of people in the City a reasonable time frame in order to participate in meetings in which the subject matter might truly affect them personally.”
Serino said he was happy that there will be no more Council Sub-committee, Zoning Board of Appeals meetings at 4 p.m.
Current Schedules and the Exceptions
True to his quest for thoroughness in all matters, Serino explained the meetings that must abide by his proposal and those that are the exceptions.
“To make it easier to understand, the following boards/commissions are subject to meet no earlier than 5 p.m.: the Board of Health, the City Council (Committee of the Whole and Sub-Committees), the Conservation Commission, the Commission on Disabilities, the Human Rights Commission, the Planning Board, the Traffic Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals.
“The License Commission would continue to be able to meet at 3 p.m. I chose not to include the License Commission because the population it serves includes restaurant, bar, and function hall managers, who otherwise would be running their businesses in the evening hours.”
“There are other boards that meet earlier than 5 p.m., notably, the Site Plan Review Committee, the Retirement Board, and the Council on Elder Affairs, among others.”
Serino also noted that the School Committee is not part of the amended ordinance.